Did you ever wonder what is the best lens for travel photography?
The chance is quite high that you did since many people start buying cameras and optics to be able to create and relive travel memories.
Despite traveling becoming one of the most popular and most documented hobbies on Earth, the internet still doesn’t offer too many comprehensive buying guides when it comes to photography.
With that idea in mind, I decided to make an ultimate guide on how to get proper photographic gear to transfer your travel memories into digital eternity.
Since photographers have specific tastes when it comes to lenses, I chose to pick optics from different manufacturers, and of different performances, along with different camera types.
So, by reading through the article you will find the lens that goes best with your given camera brand and personal preferences.
Panasonic comes to the list as the best lens for travel photography because it comes with a nano surface coating that reduces ghosting and flare issues. Its aspherical elements ensure proper crystal-clear images. The Panasonic LUMIX 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 comes with fast focus tracking that is enabled by a 240 fps linear motor. Autofocus performance offers an excellent 4K video, and if your camera enables this feature you will appreciate the possibility to capture awesome videos.
The lens offers a wide-angle view so if your goal is to capture landscapes or ancient buildings that spread in width, this Panasonic will make that task quite comfortable. Another excellent point goes to the design. The body is made out of metal and it is weatherproof. During the testing, I didn’t face any problems no matter the rain or the snow. It operated flawlessly in all conditions. The aperture is also another selling point.
Despite being an f/2.8 (not a fast prime), it captures a sufficient amount of light to produce clear results even under tedious weather conditions. When it comes to image quality, at 8mm of focal length the pictures appear tack-sharp and when you utilize filters (for a snowy or a super-sunny day), you will get great results. On a wider angle, it also offers splendid results with no vignetting issues.
- Autofocus, 4K video
- Aperture could be wider
Olympus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 is one of the best Olympus lenses for travel. Olympus offers a minimum focus distance of 20 inches, with an angle of view of 75° – 8.2°. The lens is constructed with 15 elements in 11 groups. It has a Zuiko extra-low reflection optical coating which is one of the reasons why it is the best lens for travel photography in its price range. The package includes a lens hood, cap, rear lens cap and the lens itself is dust and splash-proof.
I tested it thoroughly in a variety of weather conditions and it met all the criteria necessary to call it weather resistant. The range of the lens starts at 14mm of focal length and it goes up to 150mm, so it is one of the most versatile photographic lenses you could encounter in this range. The range is impressive, but what is even more amazing is the fact that its power is packed in a compact body.
It doesn’t offer optical image stabilization, but since most of the new Olympus cameras come with one within the body, the fact becomes less important. The lens is capable of taking color-neutral, razor-sharp images with the sharpness being relatively constant throughout the zoom range. I am yet to encounter vignetting issues, and the pictures come out quite lively. The focus system is quite fast and responsive, and the only objection goes to the limiting aperture which can cause issues under dim lighting.
- Great design
- Image Sharpness
- No OIS
- Narrow aperture
The best Sony lens for travel offers a minimum aperture of an f/22 with a minimum focus distance of 1,48 feet (wide-end) and 3,12 feet (telephoto end), with a maximum magnification ratio of 0,11x. The angle of the view is 76° 15°, and the lens packs seven aperture blades. One of the selling points of the lens and the reason why this Sony is on the list of best lenses for travel photography is the extreme versatility.
The results of this Sony 18-105mm f/4G lens are great when it comes to comparison with even more expensive gear. The optical image stabilization offers stunning results even at 105mm. The range is sufficient to cover almost any photographic situation, especially when you consider the bokeh that is impeccable.
I used this lens with Sony A6000 most of the time and I didn’t face distortion or vignetting issues. Zooming is silent and steady, so you will be able to capture pictures without a tripod.
The aperture of an f/4 is relatively narrow, but I didn’t have a hard time taking well-lit images even under difficult lighting conditions. Design-wise, the lens offers fair game, even compared to the more expensive competition. The overall test result provides enough info to conclude that it is one of the best lenses you can use to mount on Sony mirrorless cameras if you want to travel a lot.
- Great zoom
- Narrow aperture
The best travel Canon lens offers a rounded 9-blade diaphragm in combination with a maximum aperture of an f/4 and an angle of view of 108° 10′ to 63°. The maximum magnification sits at 0,23x and the minimum focus distance is 4,49 inches. One of the reasons why I included this Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L lens on the travel photography lenses list is the reason is the full-time manual focus that allows ultimate precision, even in autofocus mode.
During testing, I noticed that the image quality of this lens is probably one of the best Canon has ever produced in the category of wide-angle zoom optics. Image stabilization offers incredible support when it comes to shooting moving objects or waves during windy times. At 16mm I didn’t notice any issues in terms of corner vignetting or ghosting, and the images retained their crystal-clear sharpness throughout the whole zoom range.
I was worried that an f/4 lens wouldn’t be able to pull off extra-quality images under dim lighting, but the Canon EF completely blew my mind with stunning images of night skies and rainstorms. Although it can’t offer blurred backgrounds and creamy portraits like its prime counterparts, the lens offers everything you expect from an “L” price range, including stunning and robust design.
- Superior Image Quality
- Great design
- Narrow aperture
Tamron comes with three aspherical elements and an incredibly useful vibration compensation system packed in a compact and lightweight body. It has an angle of view of 75° 23′ to 8° 15′ and a maximum magnification of 0,29x. Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Diis designed with 19 elements in 15 groups and it has seven rounded diaphragms that ensure maximum photographic quality.
One of the first things I noticed is the compactness of the body, which is amazing, considering the incredibly versatile focal range. Since the lens comes with image stabilization I didn’t have to use a tripod to capture incredible snaps of distant objects, which is appreciated if you intend on using the lens as travel gear. At both ends, respectively, it offers great results with little to no distortion nor vignetting, and the overall sharpness is great.
The focus is relatively fast, although I had issues with slow responsiveness which resulted in some lost images. The overall picture quality is good, and the lens offers a good price to worth ratio.
The aperture is solid and although relatively narrow, I didn’t have problems capturing pictures in the dark hours. Another great point design, since it fulfills all necessary standards to be taken on demanding road trips without worrying too much about damage.
- Incredible versatility
- Compact design
- Slow focus
Getting awesome travel photos is important and in the era of social media paramount to creating a virtual global presence. To fulfill these digital demands successfully, photographers should acquire high-end optics.
No matter what camera type or brand you use, getting the best camera lenses for travel should be easier if you follow the tips outlined in the article above. Feel free to explore further with any of the lenses I share and your travel portfolio will surely become much better.
Now is the time to make the right decision and choose the lens that is best for your needs. If you are not sure which lens is best for you, our recommendation is this lens.
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